• How We Work

    Photo: Bukomansimbi Organic Tree Farmers Association planting palm trees

    1

    Giving back to grow more

    At the core of our products is nature. Because of this, we are partnering with Bukomansimbi Organic Tree Farmers Association to support their efforts to secure raw material resources and train new generations in traditional textiles.

    2

    We support talented craftswomen

    Through partners in Uganda, we work directly with craftspeople to produce contemporary designs with plaited palm leaf, bark cloth. and woven natural fibers.

    3

    Each product is finished in Uganda

     We partner with tailors, dyers, and designers at the Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped Vocational Program to create our finished products.

    4

    We bring it to you

    By transforming these beautiful textiles into pieces for your home and yourself, we are able to share these beautiful materials, processes, and culture with you.

  • Tree to Textile

    Our textiles start with indigenous trees - the palm (enkundukundu) and mutuba (bark cloth). Through expert weavers and makers, the leaves and bark are transformed into supple cloth. Enjoy our videos below - it's our way of bringing this process closer to you!

  • Plaited Palm Leaf

    Available up to 1 meter wide and as long as you like!

     

    Our yardage can be used for wall decorations, wall coverings, furniture inlay and overlays, home goods, and more. It is sewn easily with a heavy-duty sewing machine. [*Not tested for outdoor use.]

    Biri Biri

    Hand plaited palm leaf.

    Sun-dried and hand stripped to 1/8" widths for plaiting.

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    Jiri

    Hand plaited palm leaf.

    Sun-dried and hand stripped to 1/8" widths for plaiting.

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    Sekamu

    Hand plaited and hand dyed palm leaf.

    Sun-dried and hand stripped to 1/8" widths for plaiting.

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    Sekamu 2

    Hand plaited and hand dyed palm leaf.

    Sun-dried and hand stripped to 1/8" widths for plaiting.

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    Shadow

    Hand plaited and hand dyed palm leaf.

    Sun-dried and hand stripped to 1/4" widths for plaiting.

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  • Bark Cloth

    Available in 1 meter to 2 meter widths and up to 3 meters long. Because this comes directly from individual trees, sizes will vary.

     

    Photo courtesy of Bark Cloth Co-Op, Mananma, Uganda

    Stripping the Tree

    The bark is carefully removed as not to damage the tree. After 1 year, the bark can be harvested again - for up to 30 years from one tree. Kalisizo, Uganda.

    Pounding the bark

    Expert bark cloth maker, Vincent, is using his nnsamu mallet on a newly stripped piece of bark in his outdoor workshop. Bukomansimbi, Uganda.

    Natural Bark Cloth

    Made entirely by hand, using sustainably sourced ficus natalensis bark

    Each piece will vary slightly.

    Clay Dyed Bark Cloth

    Made entirely by hand, using sustainably sourced ficus natalensis bark.

    Hand-dyed in local clay for 3-5 days.

    Each piece will vary slightly.

    Dyeing Bark Cloth, Step 1

    In the surrounding swamps, waterlogged soils are used as dye vats for the bark cloth.

    Dyeing Bark Cloth, Step 2

    The bark cloth is covered with clay and left for several days - the longer the time, the darker the color.

    Dyeing Bark Cloth, Step 3

    The tannins present in the bark react with the iron-rich clay creating the perfect lightfast natural black dye.

    Bark Cloth: Final Step

    Both the dyed and natural bark cloth are dried in the sun. Any small tears are carefully stitched with raffia, creating even more of a reminder that each piece is made entirely by hand.

  • Wovens

    Available in 1 meter widths, up to 20 meters long. Because this is handwoven, slight variations are expected.

     

    We work with only indigenous tree sourced fibers with cotton warps - bark cloth, raffia, and banana stem.

    Raffia No. 1

    Raffia and cotton

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  • About

    Through working closely with textile producers in Uganda, Mekeka Designs offers a curated collection of textiles including plaited palm leaf, woven natural fibers, and bark cloth.

     

    We are focused on working with designers and retailers who would like to develop bespoke collections for their clients/customers.

    If you would love to source unique materials for your design ideas, please contact us. We would love to work with you!

     

    Through key partners in Uganda, we focus on making a positive impact on cultural arts and the environment while creating needed economic opportunities for local artisans.

     

    As a textile artist and consultant, Lesli Robertson launched Mekeka Designs in a effort to focus on the beauty and value of handcrafted textiles from Uganda. With a background in textile arts, international project development, and research, she spend numerous summers working in Uganda on promoting and preserving textile traditions with her Ugandan partners. She found a passion for these textiles, and now has launched Mekeka Designs. She and her partners in Uganda are excited to bring you uniquely handcrafted textiles for your home. Visit her site at www.leslirobertson.com.

     

    Thank you for your support!

     

    Lesli Robertson Studio, LLC

     

     

  • Contact Us

    For more information on our products, what is possible, or to request a sample!

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